Thursday, October 9, 2014

Clothing Swaps

{I'm posting every day this month for the 31 Days writing challenge!
Click here to see an introduction and a list of all the posts I've written so far.}

Okay, so this is not necessarily a “Santa Barbara” thing, but it’s something I never did before I moved here, so I decided to include it in this series.

I’ve made some pretty stellar girlfriends in Santa Barbara, and we have a lot of fun together.  One of the things we’ve been doing about once every three months is clothing swaps, where everyone brings whatever clothes (and sometimes shoes, hair stuff, or even small household items) that they don’t really want anymore for various reasons, and we “shop” each other’s items!  

Usually most of what we bring is just things that we’ve worn enough to be kind of tired of them, even though they’re still in good shape; or we might bring stuff that is either too big or too small for us to wear anymore.  So it really is like shopping without spending money!  (And since we’ve established how expensive it is to live here, I’m all about finding fun things to do that don’t cost any extra money.)

The best thing about clothing swaps, aside from going home with some “new” items for your wardrobe, is having that shopping experience without all the hassle of actually going to a store.  I don’t know about you, but I enjoy trying things on and having a friend there to help me decide on them...but I don’t always feel like waiting in line to try stuff on or buy things, and I definitely don’t always feel like shelling out money for new clothes!  Plus, we usually have lots of good snacks, sometimes wine, and always tons of laughter and good conversation.

And one of my secret favorite parts of a clothing swap is seeing people gravitate toward something I brought, because it quiets that insecure little voice in my head that says, “You don’t actually have any fashion sense whatsoever.”  (Come to think of it, that little voice sounds an awful lot like the “superficial Santa Barbara girls” I mentioned on Monday...)  When someone who I consider to be very fashion-savvy grabs a skirt I brought and says, “Wow, this is so cute!” – that makes me a very happy little wannabe fashionista.

If you’ve never participated in a clothing swap, host one of your own!  

Here’s a very simple step-by-step guide:

  • Invite as many girls as you want!  (If your location can fit 8-10 people, invite about 20-25!)
  • Tell everyone to bring whatever clothes (and/or other items) they don’t use anymore, and to make sure they are clean and in working order – nothing broken or ripped.
  • Optional: ask people to bring snacks/drinks to share.  Otherwise, as the host, have a little something like cheese and crackers available to nosh on.
  • When everyone shows up, have them set out all the clothes around the room according to their categories (pants, dresses, shirts, sweaters, etc.).
  • Give everyone about half an hour to try things on and see what they are interested in; but no one should take any items yet!
  • Have everyone draw a number from a hat/bowl/box, then whoever is #1 gets to pick her first item.  Go in order, letting each person take one item, and start over with #1 after everyone has taken something.
  • Do as many rounds as you want!  Usually 3-5 rounds is enough to let everyone get the items they were most interested in.
  • After that, it’s a free-for-all!  Everyone can take any other items they want.
  • Usually the host will gather up the remaining items and take them to a thrift store or good will to donate, but people can also take back the items they brought that were unclaimed if they want to!

Happy swapping!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! Let me know if you ever try it out; I'd love to hear how it went!

  2. What a wonderful way to get together with friends! Everybody WINS...and I certainly know what you mean about others "liking" what you brought...I feel that way in sharing, trading, swapping scrapbook supplies and layouts...Thanks for sharing!

    1. Glad you could relate and that you enjoyed reading this! Thanks for commenting!

  3. What a great idea! When my husband was in college, the entire campus had a huge swap of adult clothes, kid clothes, and household items. it was awesome!

  4. I really love this idea! My friend and I, who happen to live 1500 miles apart often wish we could do this on a regular basis - if we lived closer together, ha ha!

    1. Aww such a bummer to live far apart from other fashionable friends. Maybe you could do a virtual swap -- post pictures in a shared facebook album and mail them to each other? (So there'd be shipping costs, but still not too bad if you end up with a bunch of new clothes!)

  5. What a great idea and such fun with a group of friends! Love that you included your tips and a picture as well. I'm visiting from the 31 days fb page. Enjoy your month of writing!


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